Crawl – Rituals (Death Metal)

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Even though the band is Swedish and plays death metal, which should be something I’d have my eye on, I’d never heard of Crawl before Transcending Obscurity Records announced them on their label. What makes it a bit weird is the fact that Crawl got members that’s been in Decomposed and Demonical, two bands I’ve followed and reviewed in the past. To be fair though they only had a demo and an EP under their belt before as the band was created in 2014. Rituals also being the bands debut full-length, so hey I have at least that to lean back on for my lack of knowledge on this band. Obviously I had to dig through their old material to get an idea what the band is all about. I: Serpents the demo was full of crushing Swe-death worship where Entombed and Dismember (as they do with many) had a lot of influences on them but at the same time they had some crust and punk elements at times. The three track demo was actually really good where the song “Casket Ride” hit me extra hard, making me wonder how I missed these death metallers before. Their EP Worship Death went even further with that sound, making the crust, punk and hardcore elements even more known so with that in mind I was now keen to hear what Rituals had in store for me.

It doesn’t take many seconds to know that Crawl has upped their game even more on Rituals. The mixing is better, really dirty but does a good job highlighting the right elements at the right time. It’s a pure adrenaline rush from the get go with only one song going above three minutes mark, honing their sound from the previous album even more towards the death-fused punk area. It’s a really good mix at that which keeps Rituals fresh and not a mere copycat from the 90’s sound. To me this is a great match made in the sewers of Sweden, filled with filthy death stench and adding more agression from the crust/punk/hardcore scene. Simply dirty and most fitting for the underground. I mean what do you need from a good death metal album? Energy? Heck yeah Rituals got that in plenty. Crushing riffs? Check on that too! Nasty lyrics? Well just take the two first tracks “Reject the Cross” and “Breathing Violence” as an example to that. Will it make you want to mosh? The pure energy and agression from the album will make this a killer live I am sure of.

While I usually would complain that 25 minutes is running quite a bit short in a full-length album I find it just about the right length for Crawl’s most crushing debut. Any more and it might have been too much of this rotten hard hitting, in your face death metal. One can only take so much in before being overwhelmed. In conclusion this is one of the best death metal albums of the year. It’s taking some of the best parts of Entombed and Dismember while putting their own touches to it, making Rituals an album that will last for a long time. They’ve evolved a lot from their 2015 demo and I am pleased to hear Swe-death can still evolve into new breeds. All nine tracks are putrid, heavy, about to knock you out metal with highlights like “Sentenced to Rot” and “Reject the Cross”. If you’re looking for Swe-death worship with that added extra brutality which will get you up on Monday mornings or get you pumped up for the weekend slaughters then Rituals is a must get for you. You’ve been sentenced to rot!

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Dismember and Entombed
Release date: August 20th, 2018
Favorite song: Sentenced to Rot
Score: 4/5

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At the Gates – To Drink From the Night Itself (Melodic Death Metal)

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When you are one of the main bands to create a whole sound and an era for Swedish metal music, hell an era for melodic death metal all over the world then you’re bound to have a nice reputation going for you. They are one of the creators of what is called “the Gothenburg sound” during the early 90’s and At the Gates needs no further introduction as their legacy is one everyone should know by now.

With At War With Reality the band made a great comeback but didn’t really dare to try something new. Who can blame them though, they had been broken up for years so for the comeback album I would play it rather safe as well. It was basically what was expected from them and they delivered. Then comes To Drink From the Night Itself. Not only do they go back to their roots and you get a lot of tracks that got that Slaughter of the Soul feeling to it but they also manage to develop their sound this time around. You can almost say this album consists of two parts, Der Widerstand to In Nameless Sleep is classic At the Gates then with The Colours of the Beast and onwards you hear more songs that brings in elements of doom and heavy metal. More atmospheric in many ways and it’s a welcoming experiment along with their core sound. The new guitarist Jonas Stålhammar (The Lurking Fear) is a great addition to the band and he is a key factor when the band is moving forward in my opinion.

An album like this is funny to review. One side of me want At the Gates to only give me the Slaughter of the Soul sound all over again, then there is one side of me who wants something new and different. To Drink From the Night Itself manages to do a bit of both. So here I am digging the title track To Drink from the Night Itself (Blinded By Fear version 2), which is really catchy and been stuck in my head for days, like I am having just as good of a time with for example The Colours of the Beast where they try something new. At the Gates were together with In Flames and Soilwork the bands that got me liking this genre and I am happy to say that they are still kings within the genre where some have faltered.

Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Dark Tranquillity and In Flames
Release date: May 18th, 2018
Favorite song: To Drink from the Night Itself
Score: 4/5

Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler (Death Metal)

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Yay more classic death metal from Sweden! After basically not a single swedeath review for months I get two in two days, lucky me! Coffin Creep is a rather unknown band, formed in 2014, coming from Sweden but been very active in the underground scene around here, playing a lot of shows showcasing their demos live. Corpse Defiler is the bands debut album which consists of re-recordings of mentioned demos and a brand new song in Corpse Defiler.

It’s raw filthy rotten sound brings back memories from a time when swedeath was at it’s peak. The mixing is usually something I think it really hard to get right at this day and age for my ears. I don’t want it too raw because I think the music has evolved in production enough to make it sound good yet filthy. Coffin Creep manages to get a good mix with the right amount of editing to make this album sound really good to me. As a side note I noticed when reading up about Coffin Creep is that the drummer is the vocalist, cool stuff and I don’t see that too often.

Song by song I think Coffin Creep does a good job on catching the ways of the old making a death metal fanatic like me happy. I am sure Coffin Creep is going to be one of the bands from Sweden that keeps the old corpses still rotting instead of withering away. Seeing this is just their debut album filled with demos it’s interesting to hear what they come up with next. Give these guys an album or two and I am confident you will see them go toe to toe with the bigger Swedish acts such as Entrails or Grave. Obviously some of you will think this is just another death metal album you’ve heard before but when it’s done so well like this and manage to capture the essence of the horrors death metal can do it’s not something you should sleep on. One can never get too much swedeath in their life so I suggest fans of Entrails, Grave, Dismember and the likes gets this pile of defiled corpses into your collection right now.

Label: Unearthed Production
For fans of: Entrails and Grave
Favorite song: Puking Necrophilia
Score: 4/5

Desultory – Through Aching Aeons (Death Metal)

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Here we go, another old school Swedish death metal act is releasing an album! These past years have definitely been good to us swedeath lovers as a new wave of filthy death is taking over. Desultory might not be a name many are familiar with, I wasn’t for example. A brief look into the bands history though and I find out the band was actually formed almost 30 years ago, 1989 to be exact. After some successful demo and full-length releases in the early 90’s the band took a huge hit when Stefan Pöge left the band in 95, thus changing the style drastically on the bands third full-length release Swallow the Snake. An album that has to be seen as a dark spot in Desultory’s discography and ultimately the band disbanded in 96. Reborn in 2009 the comeback Counting Our Scars put the band on the right track once again and now eight years later Desultory are saying goodbye with their last album Through Aching Aeons.

Having not heard Desultory’s past work before I obviously had to listen to it after reading this background story. Safe to say there was some varied quality but also some really really great death metal. So now I knew what I could expect. Or rather to expect that these 43 minutes and nine tracks could be anywhere between heaven or hell. Will it be a Swallow the Snake fiasco or Into Eternity death metal masterpiece. Answer is this is the later. Through Aching Aeons consist of some of the best death metal I’ve heard this year. The guitars, oh the guitars, chainsaw their way through the competition together with Klas Morberg on vocals leaving me stunned on how the hell I can have missed these guys when growing up. It’s a mistake I will atone by listening to this album, over and over again until I know every word, every beat and every riff.

Through Aching Aeons isn’t perfect but death metal isn’t suppose to be. A vile riff feast that’s an homage to everything swedeath stands for is exactly what I wanted and Desultory were kind enough to deliver. I hope this isn’t the last I hear from Desultory, I want more.

Through Aching Aeons is out now through Pulverised Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Desultory-50447918404
Label: Pulverised Records
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Beneath the Bleeding Sky
Score: 4/5

King of Asgard – :taudr: (Viking/Death Metal)

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This is one of those albums I’ve had to wait with before reviewing. Why you ask? Because I had to cool down before giving :taudr: my first listen. King of Asgard is a band I really like and hold in a high regard when it comes to viking metal (together with Thyrfing, Månegarm and Amon Amarth for example). That being said I’ve listened to this album several times and I still find this a good experience each freaking time. Before you even listen to this album you should grab yourself both some meed and beer, maybe even some snacks for the sake of it and get ready for a great time of raiding.

For those of you who doesn’t know about King of Asgard they are a creation of one of the members from Mithotyn Karl Beckmann. Keeping the viking spirit alive they have since then been making albums of high quality and their fourth conquest :tuadr: is of course no different. The memory of Mithotyn lives on in many ways with their releases as the songwriting and folk inspired melodies hits me with the same force as they once did. Having listened to a few tracks on :taudr: I know already that this is another great album to add to their already top notch discography. As a viking lover and a metal lover you just can’t get enough of King of Asgard that’s one thing that’s certain. Out of the five tracks on :taudr: there isn’t a single one I doesn’t like, however there are two tracks I find taking my breath away. Those two are Taudr and Upon Raging Waves, whereas the last one is a homage to everything Mithotyn has ever done. Basically if you want a viking experience this is the album, and the band to go for. Are you a fan of Mithotyn? This is the closest you can get! Love King of Asgard’s old albums? This is just as good if not better (have to say that …to North is hard to beat). Either way every fan of viking music will love this album! The atmosphere and music screams viking music!

King of Asgard’s fourth full-length album :taudr: is out now through Trollmusic.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kingofasgard
Label: Trollmusic
For fans of: Mithotyn and Thyrfing
Favorite song: Upon Raging Waves

Mordbrand – Wilt (Death Metal)

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Mordbrand means arson and is not only a horrible act but also one of Swedens best death metal acts that’s spawned this last decade. Having listened to their compilation album Hymns of the Rotten several times this past year I knew Wilt was something to look forward to. Why you ask? Because in this trio you got Per Boder, the vocalist who has been on the frontline to create the Swedish death metal sound with God Macabre. Joining him we got Björn Larsson (who plays for God Macabre since the resurrection in 2013) and Johan Rudberg. This trio has made some of the best death metal music these past years (their debut Imago came out in 2014) and it’s a band that I personally feel will should be up there among the greats soon if they keep this up. My only question to this release is if they can? Is Wilt as good as Imago or Hymns of the Rotten?

Short answer is yes, yes it is. I am not sure how Mordbrand does it, have they made an pact with Satan? Have they found the pick of destiny? Becuase wow I keep getting stunned by this band. Every single song is a hit to me. Every single song. It’s pure death metal which is perfectly produced and every single riff is a headbanger. The songwriting is great and heck even the album cover is freaking art. This year has been too kind to me. As a lover of death metal I’ve not only got to listen to releases from the more known acts such as Immolation, Firespawn, Evocation and Entrails but also found new bands like HerezA and now got something confirmed. Confirming that Mordbrand are here to stay, they are one of Swedens best death metal bands full stop. If you think otherwise listen to Wilt, or any other album in their already great discography.

I am basically too much in awe of this band right now that I shouldn’t even write in all honesty. I usually take an album for a few spins, cool down and then try to make a fair judgement (read my Svart Crown review for example) but this is so good I starting writing this review before I’d even give Wilt it’s first run. I mean fuck, already three tracks in I was asking myself if Bleed Into Nought, Delivering the Gods or Worship Predation was going to be choosen as my favorite track. Fact is they are all good in their own right and I could pick a song at random and still be happy with my choice.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Mordbrand is one of Swedens best death metal bands. It’s a beast that’s been unleashed and ready to ravage the world with death. I suggest you get Wilt now through Carnal Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/officialmordbrand
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MordbrandBand
Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Evocation and Grave
Favorite song: At the Larvae Column

Sarcasm – Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds (Death Metal)

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For those unfamiliar (I have to confess I was) with Sarcasm their career goes all the way back to 1990 but after six demos the band disbanded in 1994. A few years ago, 2015 to be precise, the band re-merged from the shadows though with most of the members all having a past in Sarcasm from the 90’s. Sadly the sudden death of Oscar Karlsson (Defleshed, Gates of Ishtar) struck the band but they never wanted to give up, they wanted to keep on going and honour his memory. Matte Modin (Firespawn, Usurpress, ex-Dark Funeral, ex-Defleashed) took over the drums as Sarcasm were getting ready to work on Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. However both Fredrik Wallenberg and Henrik Forslund left the band and Sarcasm had to assemble a new line-up once again. Eventually they did and Sarcasm now consist of Anders Eriksson, Jonas Söder, Matte Modin, Peter Laitinen and Heval Bozarslan.

This stormy past has probably influenced the band a lot in creating music. Raging speed and hard as a rock death metal, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind when listening to Sarcasm’s opener Bloodsoaked Sunrise from their latest album Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds. Sarcasm delivers a great mix of melodic death, your classic Swedish old school death and even some black metal elements in there. It’s like At the Gates, Dissection and Necrophobic joined forces. Some of the best from the Swedish metal scene that is. There is a track here for fans of any these bands as the songs do differ a bit in sound and that’s also what makes this a great album. There is variety and a sweet old school feeling to Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds that a metalhead who loves this sound will find right at home with.

If you haven’t heard Sarcasm before now is the time! Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds is an ode to the Swedish metal scene of old and even with all the hardship Sarcasm has suffered they’re back in form. If you only want a sample then I suggest listening to Scars of a Land Forgotten or the epic A Black Veil for Earth. Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds is out now through Dark Descent Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarcasmsweden
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Necrophobic and At the Gates
Favorite song: A Black Veil for Earth